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Washington, DC, July 26, 2010 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today applauded a decision by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials to eliminate a historically unpredictable and burdensome process for companies using business aviation to obtain international waivers for flights into the U.S.
NBAA and federal security officials are in agreement that the move will reduce the administrative burden and costly travel delays for industry that have beset the waiver program in recent years, while preserving stringent security protocols for U.S.-bound flights.
“Companies across the world that rely on business aviation will welcome today’s announcement, because it recognizes the importance of international commerce to the U.S., and the central role of business aviation in driving that economic activity,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “This change will greatly reduce the barriers while maintaining essential security for companies wanting to bring their business and investment to the U.S.”
The TSA’s new procedure, which applies to aircraft registered outside of the US, was unveiled today by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Under the new procedure, those using company-owned airplanes to travel to the U.S. to conduct business will no longer be required to undergo the TSA’s traditional process for obtaining an international waiver to enter the country.
Instead, TSA will conduct its security review by coordinating with a partner security agency, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), to gather the data through CBP’s Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (e-APIS). The approach is expected to be implemented and in use by government on September 1 of this year.
Introduced more than a year ago, the e-APIS program has proven relatively easy to use and highly effective in gathering dozens of data points – including information about an aircraft’s owner, operator, passengers and intended destination – for each flight into or out of the U.S. Industry compliance with meeting e-APIS requirements is near 100 percent, and operators have reported few problems with using of the system.
“The TSA’s new approach for obtaining critical security data is a win for government and industry,” Bolen continued. “The new procedure shows how coordination among federal agencies can make security measures more effective at less cost to government, while bringing reliability, predictability and a reduced compliance burden to industry.”
Bolen commended a number of government officials for collaborating with the business aviation community on the new waiver procedure, including TSA Administrator John Pistole, Associate Administrator for Transportation Sector Network Management John Sammon and General Manager for General Aviation Security Policy Brian Delauter. Additionally, he thanked CBP Assistant Commissioner for Field Operations Tom Winkowski and CBP e-APIS Program Manager Eric Rodgriguez for reaching out to the industry for guidance on the new waiver plan.
Also noteworthy to Bolen has been the work done by the European Business Aviation Association and its members, who met with government officials on multiple occasions to provide real-world feedback to the agencies, which helped inform efforts to improve the waiver process.
“This experience demonstrates the effectiveness with which people from several corners in the industry can work with government officials to enhance the security of flight while avoiding unneeded disruption to the mobility and flexibility that are the industry’s hallmarks,” Bolen concluded. “We thank the officials with the TSA and Customs for allowing EBAA, NBAA and other business aviation stakeholders to provide input toward this new waiver plan, and we believe the new procedure has been made effective and workable as a result.”
Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 8,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.
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